Indian-origin shopkeepers among royal guests

London: It is not only Kate Middleton who will make the transition from the village of Buckleberry to the royal environs of the Buckingham Palace on Friday, an Indian-origin couple who run a shop in her village are also among the guests invited to her wedding to Prince William.

Hash and Chan Shingadia, who run the Spar franchise store in Buckleberry, know Kate since she was a child.

The couple are among the village commoners invited to the wedding, including the village postman, butcher and the pub landlord.

Excited about the event, Chan says she traveled to Rajkot to buy the sari she will wear at the wedding. Hash will wear a morning suit on the occasion.

Born in India, the couple say Kate "pops in two or three times a week" when she is in Bucklebury, sometimes accompanied by Prince William.

They are familiar with the the tastes and choices of their royal customers.

Chan Shingadia, 42, said: "We`ve really got to know Kate. She is really caring. She is like a human being, not a celebrity, and she is always a good customer. William is very down to earth."

Martin Fidler, the butcher, and his wife Sue have also known Kate since she was a child.

Whenever Kate passes by his shop, Martin said she always
puts her hand up and waves.

He added: "We`re really looking forward to the day. We`ve known Kate`s mother Carole for years, before she met Kate`s father Mike. They`ve got on with their lives, built up a good business and all their children are a credit to them."

Ryan Naylor, the village postman, is also on the guest list, along with John Haley, landlord of the Old Boot Inn where the couple sometimes enjoy a quiet drink.

For the 1500 villagers who have not been invited, there will be a big party in the village with a giant wedding cake.

In the Buckleberry parish church, a special 4-hour peal has been composed that will be run by a specially selected group of bell ringers.

Buckleberry has been catapulted to fame as journalists from all over the world make a beeline to report from the village from where the next royal member hails.

Such is the interest among journalists and tourists that local entrepreneurs have already started `Kate Middleton Country Tour.`

The tour includes the local parish where Kate was baptised, the Church of England school she went to and the Old Boot Inn pub, where royal courtship took place over a pint.

The pub is now increasingly filled with journalists swooping on the village.

However, not every resident of Buckleberry is enjoying the media attention.

Some are already looking forward to Saturday when calm will return to the sylvan countryside village after the royal wedding.


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